Fort Myers Bike Night switches locations to Rockstar Harley-Davidson
It is a sight that draws thousands of people to downtown Fort Myers each year, where hundreds of motorcycles are on display.
But, Fort Myers Bike Night will not be held in downtown anymore, and the new location is upsetting bikers and businesses in the downtown area.
Chuck Debono, vice-president of the Lost Riders, has been riding motorcycles since he was 16-years-old. He is a driving force behind Fort Myers Bike Night. “Bike Night is just a great night for everybody to get together,” he said, “not just bikers but the general public gets together.”
Alex Rodriguez, who works for Sun Sport Cycle and Watercraft, told WINK News the Fort Myers River District is the spot that comes to mind when people think of this city. “Being able to be there in the heart of downtown and say, ‘this is part of who we are,’ is and it’s a cultural thing to this area, the local businesses, shops, and bars,” Rodriguez said.
But now, Bike Night is being moved from downtown to a new location at the Rockstar Harley-Davidson dealership. The River District Alliance said space, crowds, costs and safety concerns are factored into its decision to move the event.
Some local bikers, including Debono, are not pleased with the move. “It’s a shame that they took the business away from the independent business people in downtown Fort Myers,” he said.
Locally owned bike shops worry they are going to be left out. Rodriguez said that since Harley-Davidson is a one-brand shop, it will not allow other shops in the community to participate in the event.
But Harley-Davidson said it stepped in to help when the River District planned to cancel Bike Night. Kaley Tyree, an event coordinator at Rockstar Harley-Davidson, said their lot is open Nov. 9 to everyone who wants to join in for the fun of Bike Night. “The main purpose was to keep the party going and keep the tradition alive,” Tyree said, “and keep it going for another 20 years.”